TracyRyanCamera smlPhoto by: Tracy Ryan PhotographyThe diverse nature of Australia's landscape provides us with an abundance of spectacular natural attractions all over the country. When it comes to capturing the beauty of Australia’s landscapes, Tracy Ryan is one of the best. An award-winning landscape and nature photographer, Tracy first fell in love with photography when she went back to finish her Arts degree after raising her 5 kids.

“I decided that once the kids were all at school I would go and finish my degree online,” says Tracy.

“One of the main theory units I had to do involved electives, and one that I chose was photography. I thought, ‘Photography is easy, I’ve had a camera for ages, I’ll give that a go!’ And from that I found out I really loved doing it.”

“I ended up doing really well in that unit and I asked the course coordinator if I could change to a photography degree (which wasn’t available online), but he did say ‘Tracy, you have a good eye, I believe that if you keep practising and submit your work all over the country, and keep believing in yourself, you can do really well’, and so that’s what I did.”

Tracy went out on her own, doing some landscape work and starting her first photography business on the Sunshine Coast.

“I was 40 years old, and figured now was the time to give it a go.”

Tracy had a moment of inspiration when she booked a tour from Darwin to Broome. Tracy says it was the type of tour where you have little control over what’s happening or where you stop.

“Having taken my camera with me, I didn’t get all of the opportunities to take photographs that I wanted, and that inspired me to start bespoke photography tours.”

Tracy and her husband moved to Darwin, and she became a Kakadu National Park tour guide. Tracy started planning her photography tours, but knew she would need some help to get them off the ground.

“I knew that if I was going to be successful with the tours, I was going to need someone on board who people were familiar with. I got in touch with Australian wildlife photographer Steve Parish; I asked if he would be interested in working with me on a tour in Kakadu National Park and he accepted. It was great!”

Tracy2 smlNot long after this tour, Tracy had to have an operation and while taking the time to recover, she was searching through SEEK, looking at different job opportunities and found a photography posting by Google but only for the East Coast. Tracy didn’t let that get in her way.

“I’m not backwards about coming forwards - if I see an opportunity I go for it. I’m not afraid to approach people and ask. I got in touch with Google and asked if they had thought about Darwin, and the amazing tourist things happening up there,” says Tracy.

“They seemed to take it on board because a few months later they offered me a spot in their program. After a rigorous three month course, I became the Northern Territory’s only Google Trusted Photographer. Since then I’ve been doing custom virtual tours for small and large businesses and huge projects for many big resort companies all over Australia, which has been great.”

Now based in Canberra, Tracy travels all over the place – working locally, as well as up in the Northern Territory and in Western Australia.

“I find that once I do work for someone they love it and want me to come back and do more,” says Tracy.

Through her work as a Google Trusted Photographer, Tracy recognises how perfect her timing was and the opportunities she has had to create and play with the latest technologies, particular with virtual reality.

“The virtual reality side of photography has become another passion of mine. It’s an incredible thing to be able to create full virtual reality experiences that are not only functional and interactive, but look so beautiful!”

“It has taken me all over the world - I’ve been able to do virtual reality projects in Denmark and Indonesia, and then locally at Questacon and even small things like a little fish and chips shop!”

Working in an industry with so many opportunities, and at the same time such a competitive nature, Tracy considers her confidence one of biggest strengths.

“For me, being an innovator in my field means going up against the big boys. There are lots of ‘experts’ out there - everyone compares themselves to one another,” says Tracy.

“By getting out there, and breaking that glass ceiling, I have been able to show people what I can do and get their respect in return. Of course, like anything, when you first start out you get the backlash of ‘What do you know?!’ but I’ve kept my focus and stuck to my vision, and here I am.”

When it comes to giving business advice, Tracy keeps it simple - do it at your own pace and when you hit that first hurdle, just keep going.

“Some people are wombats taking things in their own time, and some are eagles that are ready to fly.”

“I’ve had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to achieve since the very beginning - being where I was in my life, at 40 and with 5 kids, my life experiences have made me pretty determined and confident in what I do.”

“I’ve always been a bit of an adventurer in my life and now it’s a part of my work. I’ve done it and you can too. No matter your age or situation, you can do it.”

Tracy is also a big believer in having no regrets, and recognises that if things hadn’t happened like they did, she wouldn’t be where she is now.

“All of the little serendipitous things - like having an operation and having to rest up for a couple of weeks, and being bored, but then coming across the Google posting. Look at how well that turned out!”

As the technology available becomes more specialised, Tracy is looking forward to the possibilities that it will bring to her work.

“The level of interaction is going to become even better as things move forward and become even more virtual,” says Tracy.

“And I want to be part of all the changes that new technologies will bring to the photography world, whatever that may be and wherever it will go, I’ll get in on it.”

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                               Photos by: Tracy Ryan Photography


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